Om Marwah, Global Head of Behavioral Science, Walmart and Sam’s Club
If being named to Forbes 30 Under 30, serving as an instructor at UCLA, and founding the Behavior Science and Marketing Summit isn’t impressive enough, Om Marwah is also the Global Head of Behavioral Science at Walmart and Sam’s Club.
Below you will find a few questions and answers to learn more about Om, his team, and what they’ve been working on at Sam’s Club.
1. Being named to Forbes 30 Under 30 must have been a great experience. What did you enjoy most about that honor?
You’re right, it was such a great honor to be named to Forbes 30 Under 30. By far the best component of the opportunity was meeting incredible individuals from across the U.S. that are making an impact to industries, their communities and the world around them. One experience I was able to have was meeting Nailah Ellis-Brown another 30 Under 30. She has been brewing and bottling her family tea in Detroit since the age of 20 and developed her product from a family recipe created by her Great-Grandfather Cyril Byron, a Jamaican immigrant, chef and entrepreneur. After meeting her I learned that she needed support distributing her product on a large scale. It was like we were meant to be! At the time she worked with MSNBC’S Your Business to help her with her business. We connected and now she is selling Ellis Island Tea on the shelves of Sam’s Club in Michigan and selling out quickly!
2. You teach at UCLA. What do you share with your students as the main takeaway of your course?
Academic creativity is a term that I've coined to describe the process of taking academic concepts and applying them to industries in completely new ways. My course is about applying academic creativity to drive industry innovation, if you can’t tell, it’s my passion. I want the students in my class to discover how to unleash their creative genius through their academic passions so they can go forward and impact the world around them.
3. What does a behavioral scientist do in a retail setting?
I get this question weekly, and no, it’s not to trick you into buying more stuff. We apply research in psychology to the customer shopping journey, our business strategy, marketing, analytics and innovation. We are about employing creative and scientific approaches to help teams turn cutting-edge academic concepts into tangible results, like creating a great experience for Sam’s Club members.
4. One of the big projects you’ve worked on is the Sam’s Club New Member Treasure Hunt. What is it and how did it start?
The New Member Treasure Hunt began when we noticed that many members sign up for their card then don’t know what to do next. We wanted to show members the benefits of the new card in their hand in an exciting and engaging way. Games are powerful learning tools that involve exploring possibilities and getting fun rewards. We built a mobile game to direct new members to really useful benefits, valuable categories, and best selling items. Members get to win items such as rotisserie chickens, pizza and more. You should take a go!
5. Now that the test phase is over and it’s been rolled out, tell us how does the new member use the game?
The first step is to get a membership. With a new membership, members can go to SamsClub.com/play on their phone in the club. They are then directed to walk around the Club to find interesting categories and items as well as answer questions. When they are correct they instantly win prizes and they can select which offers they want to receive. After playing the game they can apply their rewards at checkout after scanning them from their phone onto their card. I’m proud of this benefit for our members. Our team knew that a gap existed between being handed a new card and knowing what to do next and we were excited to fill it with an activity that is educational and engaging to create a great experience for our members.